MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a new “Roadmap to Peace” that would cover all groups fighting the government, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza said.
”So let me open up by immediately informing everyone that the President yesterday approved the new “Roadmap to Peace”, we call it,” Dureza said.
Dureza said the ‘New Road Map to Peace’ would cover the government engagement with the Bangsamoro, the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF), and other groups like the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army.
”There will be inclusivity, henceforth, under the Duterte Roadmap for Peace where all the Bangsamoro factions, groups will have to come under one roof so that there will be inclusivity in the implementation of all this particular agreements,” Dureza said.
Dureza said the Philippine government peace panel was going to pick up the pieces that had been left off from the previous agreements, including with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under Nur Misuari in 1996’s Final Peace Agreement (FPA), and the recent Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
”And of course, we have also to deal with the governance unit called the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao and perhaps we can put also in the same level the concerns of the IPs or the Lumads. Bangsamoro faction will come under one group in Duterte road map for peace,” Dureza said.
In the case of CPP-NDF, Dureza said the formal talks had been firmly set on Aug. 20 to 27 with the panel to be headed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello.
”We look forward in engaging our counterparts on the other side of the table by August 20,” Dureza said.
Dureza explained that the date of the start of formal talks with the CPP-NDF has been moved from July to August to give way for the release of the political detainees who will participate in the peace process.
Dureza said the comprehensive peace road map that hopefully would bring about peace and development in the land got the presidential imprimatur during a closed door meeting late Monday afternoon in Malacanang.
President Duterte approved in toto or in its entirety the peace formula presented by Dureza.
At the same time, the President adopted Dureza’s proposed strategy of implementing massive development on the ground simultaneously with the work to implement agreements that government had entered into.
”I can sign a hundred peace agreements but if those on the ground do not immediately feel the dividends of peace, those agreements will not be sustainable,” Dureza said.
President Duterte directed that the executive order of the OPAPP be amended to enable it to oversee all development projects and at the same time empower it to implement projects that were related to peace.
Dureza said the work on the new proposed bangsamoro enabling law would be done simultaneous with the moves to shift the form of government to federalism.
Dureza announced that President Duterte and Misuari have already talked over the phone.
The OPAPP chief expressed optimism that the Philippines’ foreign allies will support the peace negotiations with the NDF.
Dureza said NDF founding chairman Jose Maria Sison would play crucial role in the negotiations.
On the kidnap-for-ransom Abu Sayyaf Group, Dureza said the government policy remained the same that “those who committed crimes are answerable for their crimes.”
He also thanked presumptive Senate President Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for their full support in the so-called New Road Map to Peace by the Duterte administration.
”We thought that the legislative branch will be a very important component of our work for peace because the executive department which I represent would merely sign an agreement but we know very well that implementation of an enabling law will have to come through Congress and that Congress should approve it,” Dureza said.
”And so, putting already the legislative branch already on early notice and onboard will shorten also this effort that we had. So with that we will end here and if there will be some questions that will be asked,” he added.